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Opium and Heroin seized at Chiang Mai checkpoint

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: Large drug busts this week in northern Thailand.

500 grams of heroin and 50 kilograms of raw opium were seized at a Chiang Mai checkpoint by Pha Muang Force soldiers. The cache was confiscated Tuesday evening in the Chai Prakan district’s Pha Hong checkpoint in Tambun Si Dong Yen. The soldiers stopped 2 drivers who aroused suspicion and who promptly fled when stopped. The motorcycle was left with 2 bags, with one containing 500 g of heroin and the other 50,5 kg of raw opium which had been packaged into 31 separate packets.

The bust is part of a line of recent drug seizures that have seen about 30.5 million baht worth of drugs recovered while thwarting the trade networks of 3 major drug rings in the Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, and Tak provinces. These drug cases have all been linked to Wichit Arphonrungroj, the chief of Phop Phra tambon administrative organization. While Wichit is still at large with police hunting for him, several other arrests linked to the busts have been made. Four warrants were issued and police are actively pursuing more accomplices.

The first raid on Monday in Tak came as police continued investigating and expanding the scope of a huge drug bust in October 2019 where police seized 1.5 tons of crystal methamphetamine. Police later seized 2 million baht of drugs in a bust of a man in Sukhothai. And in Phitsanulok, a 20 year old man was arrested after being unable to clarify the source of 20 million baht wired into his bank account. He had been selling drugs online, using a Facebook page called “Phee Laem Pilok”.

Last December police confiscated drug assets valued at 100 million baht in Bangkok. And just a few weeks ago police took in 100 kg of ketamine and crystal meth in a drug bust in Lat Phrao.

With the Covid-19 pandemic crippling the economy and many jobless and increasingly desperate, Thailand has seen an increase in drug use and trafficking. Add to that the civil unrest in Myanmar, where illegal drug manufacturers are using the turmoil to sneak drugs across a tumultuous border, and Police have seen the need to implement a widespread crackdown on drugs throughout Thailand.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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